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Sunday, 23 October 2016

A Fall Job

Today was a good day to get a job done that needs doing every fall. It was a little bit cool this morning, then the sun started to come out and it began to warm up. It was a good day to empty all of my outdoor pots. Every year I say I will cut back, but inevitably there are many pots that need emptying.

First stop was down by the pool. Our pool is not right next to our house. We have an old house and the septic system, well, and fairly recently, geothermal system are all under the ground close to the house. So the pool was built (by the husband) in the corner of our one acre property.


You can see the pool house and if you look closely, you can see the John Deere riding lawnmower and the attached Gorilla Cart.


I have on my rubber boots, my leather garden gloves and my ancient old L.L. Bean barn coat, ready to tackle a wet, messy job.

Because I have large cement planters at the pool, they will be emptied just outside the enclosed pool area into the Gorilla Cart. They are far too heavy to lug all the way to my compost bin. So, the husband drove everything close by and even used a hand cart to bring the cement planters out so I could empty them. They had gorgeous hibiscus plants in them this summer, but of course those won't survive a Canadian winter, so it is time to say good bye.


The pool has been tucked in under its winter cover for a couple of weeks now.


In addition to the cement planters, I also had pots on the pool deck, the steps, and hanging pots as well. Everything gets emptied into the cart, except for the "spikes", which I know have a better Latin name, but I cannot recall right now.


The spikes are hefty healthy things by now and their roots are enormous. I hack away at the root ball to loosen as much soil as I have patience for, then the spike and its crazy root ball get tossed into the burn pile (one huge benefit to living in a rural area is being able to burn scrap material) because it would take forever for it to decompose in my compost bin.



I use lime green sweet potato vine as a "spiller" in many of my arrangements. Here is what lurks under the ground! I wonder if you can cook that up for dinner?

That takes care of pots at the pool, but I also have hanging flowers on the East porch and the arbour, as well as four cast iron urns, two window boxes, and many plants on the porch. Eventually everything gets emptied and it is time to dump the contents into my compost bin.


It makes for a very pretty compost pile for a while. Notice that my compost bin is made from pallets. No, we don't create shelves, or furniture, or season decorations from our leftover pallets. We make a sturdy, easily accessible, perfectly aerated compost bin. Actually I had the "kids" make it for me one Thanksgiving weekend a couple of years ago. I figured they needed something productive to do if I was going to make a huge meal for everyone. It turned out great.

As I was outside, I realized something kind of ridiculous. Now that I have my blog, there are so many times when I am doing something or going somewhere that I think, "Oh, I should take pictures! This could be a blog post!" Never, in the past would I have considered ripping out my plants something worthy of taking pictures. But hey, you never know what people might find somewhat interesting, or will read just to be polite!

What about my other fellow gardeners? Are your pots emptied? Where do you put your spent flowers? Have you cut back over the years?

35 comments:

  1. Jenn, We sure make a lot of work for ourselves by trying to beautify every nook and cranny.:):) I like to save the dirt from my planter also. I re-cycle what I can. I used to feed the neighbor's goat any left over plants pieces. They would eat any thing....the rake dup apples and busted pumpkins, you name it. I like to see everyday life on blogs. Blessings to you hard working gardener. xoxo, Susie

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    1. I used to save my soil in the pots, but I found that mice got into them, even spreading mouse poison in there, because we store the pots in the shed. So now I just invest in new soil each year. The old stuff really doesn't go to waste because it becomes part of the compost. I didn't know you had neighbour goats! You should take some pictures sometime ;)

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  2. Thank goodness we don't need to do this. Our winters are cold, but nothing like yours. I have just planted lettuces in our pots..or the grandkids did. It will be most interesting to see your winter posts

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    1. Fresh lettuce would be nice to have at this time of year. "They " say (whoever they are) that we are in for a lot of snow this winter, so you'll likely see some very white posts in a couple of months.

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  3. Oh, the fall cleanup! I miss having a compost pile, and may look into that. I did bring the rain barrel along! I've only emptied two pots, so far, but the rest will go before month's end.

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    1. Truth be told, I think the reason I emptied all the pots today was I had something else I was supposed to be doing and this was a weird form of procrastination.

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  4. What gorgeous sweet potatoes! I had no idea that the ornamentals made tubers. (which was kind of dumb on my part)
    I was a real slacker and never even filled my pots this year. Maybe I'll get to beautification in the spring.

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    1. Oh now that's hilarious! I don't think anyone could ever describe you as a slacker!! You may not have planted flower pots, but how many acres in total have you planted in vegetables? -Jenn

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  5. I do find this post interesting! I lived I a condo for 15 years and only had small pots. Now I am in a house and am trying gardening. I have emptied the pots. They were past bedraggled but I didn't have the heart to empty them. They have emptied into th compost bin.

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    1. Hey Birdie! My pots are usually pretty bedraggled by the time I empty them, too.

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  6. You are ahead of me. I was really late getting my pots IN this year and now I am late getting them OUT! That is quite a hike to your pool. My daughter had the same thing at her last house, too. It was on a ridge with well, etc. running close to the house- so it was quite a distance from the door. They used it a lot though.

    Good job on your pots- I love the spill of sweet potato vine, too. Bet you COULD eat those tubers!

    Have a wonderful night and great upcoming week. xo Diana

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  7. I usually leave mine over the winter and empty them in spring because, well, I'm lazy.

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    1. I guess I'd be worried the pots would crack with the freezing and thawing. Trust me, I leave A LOT of gardening work until the spring.

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  8. Fall has its fair share of chores, no doubt about that. I emptied all my pots last weekend. It doesn't seem like there are so many in the spring :) I haven't cut back my perennials and I'm not sure I will this year. I may just leave that for the spring. I've done it before and it's just as much work then as it is now. Plus, I'm so busy with other projects these days that I just don't have it in me!

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    1. I haven't even started cutting back perennials yet. That is a HUGE job. If it doesn't get done now, it will keep still spring.

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  9. We had a compost area down by the creek when we first moved here over 30 years ago. Sometime over the years it got neglected and forgotten. But then I don't do a lot of gardening... just some hanging herbs out front. There's very little sun in the back (too many trees)and with the mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus, we've basically given the back area by the creek to the ferals.
    And I read your profile. I too love mysteries and The Outlander Series!

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    1. Too much shade would make it a whole different gardening situation. I must admit I enjoyed reading the Outlander series more than watching it on tv. I keep thinking, "was that in the book??"

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  10. I do t empty the soil out of my pots but I do yank out the dead plantery n then shove spring bulbs in. -although this year due to the Other Thing we've been dealing with, my spring bulbs are as yet unshoved!

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  11. I need to get my pots emptied but they still are looking reasonably good so I will probably drag it till the last minute and then moan about it! I have such bad indoor light it is difficult to winter anything inside, which is too bad. You feel you are starting over every year. Congratulations on a job well done!

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    1. Thanks, and yes I do feel like I'm starting over each year. I do end up changing up the plants or the colours. It's like accessorizing your house.

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  12. That looks like a handy wheelbarrow thing. I emptied my pots last week but still have to get to the perennials before I plant the tulips. I should have done it before it got chilly

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    1. Oh that gorilla cart is an amazing thing. It pulls behind a lawn tractor and you can raise it up and dump it. It has done everything from transport rocks (we get a lot of rocks when we dig), to moving loads of soil or sand, to transporting big awkward loads of wood or refuse. It is so great that husband even replaced all the wheels / rims/ etc. because we had used it to death!

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  13. I must admit I am lazy with the pots. They stay outside with their withered plants and if they don't crack over the winter, they are rejuvenated.

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  14. I bet you slept well that night! We found so many big red potatoes in our window boxes because we love to use that lime vine with the pink and red flowers. I think emptying the pots is so sad. Every time we go out for the day, the Mister asks if I have my camera. Ah... the life of a blogger husband. Have a great week.

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    1. You always impress me with the pictures you take! Fancy camera? Right now, I just use the camera on my phone (as you can probably tell!)

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  15. All my patio pots were emptied a couple of weeks ago when we were preparing for Mr Man's surgery - no matter what time of year I empty the pots, it makes me sad. We do a combo of taking yard waste to a recycle centre in Guelph & some little bits go into a wooden barrel just behind us. I have a patio hibiscus that I take to work to keep it alive all winter - last year was a struggle to keep the mites at bay with spraying every other day - I will try again this winter.

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    1. Emptying the pots does signal the end of a season... but fall is nice. Not sayin' much about winter, though.

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  16. Time to winterize! It's so great not to have to cover our pool. Your acerage is beyond beautiful Jenn! Wish I was right there with you! Love days like this!

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  17. You have the most beautiful acreage, perfectly laid out.
    If I had that pool, I wouldn't find time for gardening, I'd be in it every waking hour :)
    Thank you for stopping by, I hope to visit regularly.
    Hugs,
    ~Jo

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  18. I was just thinking about emptying 6 pots in a place to plant in the spring. I have very little space to plant and have bought bulbs and seed to plant. That is about all the room I have. It is hard work - gardening. I wish I could find one at a decent price. I'm going to hire someone to get the leaves up this year.

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  19. I had a spike that I brought in for 0ver 6 years! It was huge!! Something fell on it this Summer, and it never recovered..😕
    I usually dump the soil from my annuals back into my compost at the cottage...then I use it again...with some fresh stuff...next year...
    Already brought in a few plants...do you over winter anything???
    We have the trampoline pool cover as well...remember the old covers??? and the darn bags! YUCK!! These are wonderful!!
    enjoy your weekend...
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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    1. I actually don't overwinter anything. I think its from having windowsills filled with geraniums that my mother kept alive all winter long. Hated those things. -Jenn

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  20. I bring my tender plants indoors, but most stay out. Your pool cover puts ours to shame. Mine is just a huge sheet of black plastic, weighed down with bits of paving slabs.

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    1. The pool cover was all about safety. When we first constructed the pool, we had neighbours around the corner with small children, one of whom was a rather precocious little guy who tended to not understand boundaries.(There was a decided lack of parenting as well). According to by laws our pool fence had to comply with height, locking, and climbability standards which we were fine with. We knew we never wanted to chance him venturing onto our property and somehow getting into the pool area with terrible results. This pool cover can easily hold the weight of an adult. I think it was worth the money because it is still in great shape and does the trick very well. -Jenn

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